ABC Greater Houston Chapter - Build Houston Magazine, October/November 2021

the bill and the benefits of Congress choosing compromise over conflict, there remain concerns over some of the bill ’s provisions that expand costly labor requirements and include misguided “buy American” and “local hire” conditions. Additionally, the broad authority of federal agencies in overseeing the implementation of the bill, should it be signed into law, and actions the administration has signaled it could take to limit participation from merit shop contractors, could limit the impact and benefits of this bill in states and local communities. Prior to the passage of the bill, Associated Builders and Contractors published an assessment of priorities and wins included in the bill, as well as concerns with several labor provisions. After passage in the Senate, the bill now rests in legislative limbo, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., attempts to pair the consideration of the act with the budget reconciliation package under debate as of August 10. As detai led by Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., the yet-to-be-written package will seek to enact several of the policy priorities laid out in President Biden’s American Families Plan. The approximately $3.5 trillion measure could impose $1.75 trillion or more in tax hikes on America’s workers and business. Further, Democrats are considering inserting new requirements that would make it harder for workers to qualify as independent contractors and may provide tax deductions for union dues, as well as additional financial support for striking workers. There is also a possibility that the PRO Act will be reintroduced via this measure. Though all provisions would have to eventually survive the scrutiny of budget reconciliation’s Byrd Rule, only a simple majority will be needed to pass the package. It is yet to be seen if either the infrastructure bill or the budget reconciliation package will eventually be enacted; however, Speaker Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have informed House members that they will be returning from their August recess earlier than scheduled to start work on their portion of the $3.5 trillion budget resolution. The House will not only be considering the infrastructure bill and the budget, but several other competing priorities as well. Confronting the expiration of enhanced federal unemployment benefits, the September 30 lapse in government funding and the always-controversial raising of the debt ceiling, Congress is certain to face an imposing legislative logjam this fall. For the construction industry, this hard- fought bipartisan accomplishment will likely be hindered if Congress pairs it with the tax hikes and spending measures proposed in the budget resolution on the table. However, if passage of the bill is made a priority over partisan concerns, this long-awaited measure can finally come to fruition. Vance Walter is the Manager of Legislative and Political Affairs for Associated Builders and Contractors’ Government Affairs division. Prior to joining ABC, Walter worked in the polling industry. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona and resides in Washington, D.C. Contact Info: walter@abc.org October/November 2021 BuildHoustonOnline.com 27

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